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For Karolien, her MBA is all about the active, positive environment

For Karolien, her MBA is all about the active, positive environment

Karolien Van Cauter had always been active in the field of project management. But after seven years in construction and consulting, she realised her interests and aspirations lay in more strategic areas of business. But before she could move there, she wanted to develop her skills and knowledge.

She says: “At first I planned to do an evening course in business – I never really considered an MBA. People kept mentioning it though, so I had a look at the programme content – and quickly became interested. “In Belgium you can’t get better than Vlerick. It has a great reputation and I also had a good feeling about it when I spoke to the team. I liked the spirit.”

Diving into Vlerick life

Within a month of contacting the admissions team, Karolien had quit her job and taken on the Full-Time MBA challenge. And four months in, she’s sure she made the right decision. She says: “It’s been inspirational. Very positive, very active. From day one you get pulled into the Vlerick atmosphere – one that’s demanding, but welcoming and warm too.” “It’s informal, but still professional. Of course, the faculty ask you to give the best of yourself and push you to your limits. But it’s not about beating the rest of your class. It’s about becoming a better professional and person.“

“And Vlerick gives you the space to do this. There’s room to make mistakes, you won’t be laughed at if you do. It’s a very supportive environment and there’s a definite focus on developing a healthy level of confidence.”

Building on existing skills

Karolien believes an MBA was definitely the right programme for her. She says: “When I first decided to go back to studying, I looked at various masters courses. But they were all directed at recent graduates.”
“An MBA is different. Everyone brings a certain attitude and knowledge. You draw on your professional experience and use your existing skills and knowledge in diverse ways.”

“We’ve had several group assignments and they mix up the participants every time, so you get different dynamics. It’s replicating global business relationships in working groups on campus. This is great preparation for working in international business environments.”

Ready for the next challenge

There are many more experiences to come on the MBA journey – Karolien is excited about the in-company project. “This is the part of the programme that can really add value to your journey,” she says. “You can customise your MBA and move in the direction that interests you most. It’s a great way to increase your strengths – and make connections for after you graduate.”

No regrets

Once she has her MBA, Karolien wants to secure a strategic role. “I don’t want to completely close the door on construction or real estate,” she says. “But I’m keen to move away from the act of building and broaden my horizon in the direction of business strategy and development. I am also very interested in entrepreneurship, from an entrepreneur’s as well as investor’s standpoint. Maybe I will start my own business after the programme.”

“I made the decision to leave my job and join the full-time MBA very quickly. I just had to take the leap – and I really feel like the Full-Time MBA will be one of the best decisions I’ve made.”

How an MBA was part of Neil's Strategy to reach the very top.

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